US fees 4 Kentucky law enforcement officials in Breonna Taylor homicide

WASHINGTON, August 4 (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Thursday charged four current and former Louisville, Kentucky police officers with their roles in the 2020 raid that killed Breonna Taylor, a black woman, is in her home in a case that has sparked nationwide protests.

The charges represent the latest effort by the Justice Department to crack down on abuses and racism in policing, following a wave of controversial police killings of black Americans.

Former Louisville Metropolitan Police Department Inspector Joshua Jaynes and Sgt. Kyle Meany have now been charged with civil rights violations and obstruction of justice for using false information to obtain a search warrant that allowed the raid. was killed March 13, 2020, killing Taylor at her home, the Justice Department said. Detective Kelly Goodlett is currently charged with conspiring with Jaynes to falsify subpoenas and then cover up fraud.

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A fourth officer, former detective Brett Hankison, is charged with civil rights violations for allegedly using excessive force, US Attorney Merrick Garland said.

“Breonna Taylor should be alive today,” Garland told a news conference. “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting and defending the civil rights of everyone in this country. That was its founding purpose and it remains our urgent mission.”

The death of Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was one of three that ignited a summer of protests against racial injustice and police violence two years ago. during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today is a huge step towards justice,” lawyers for the Taylor family said in a statement following the news.

Louisville police on Thursday began the process of firing Meany and Goodlett, the department said in a statement. Hankison and Jaynes were previously fired by the department.

The Department of Justice is also conducting an investigation into whether the Louisville Metro Government and Louisville police engaged in a form or practice of civil rights abuses by residents.

RAID DON’T KNOW

Louisville police were investigating allegations of drug trafficking when they broke down the door of Taylor’s home in a “no-door” raid, which led her boyfriend, who was carrying a legally owned firearm, to fire at the doors. officer, then fired 22 rounds at prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Hankison moved out the door, firing 10 shots at Taylor’s apartment through windows and glass doors that were covered with blinds and curtains.

Hankison told the Kentucky grand jury that he opened fire when the shooting began. When he saw flashes of light illuminating the room, he said he mistakenly thought one of the occupants was firing an assault-style rifle at his colleague. Instead, most of what he heard was other policemen firing their weapons. read more

Prosecutors say Jaynes and Goodlett met in a garage a few days after the shooting to agree on a false story to cover up fake evidence they had presented to justify the raid. failed attack.

Attorney Stew Mathews, who represented Hankison at a trial in Jefferson County Circuit Court, where he was acquitted in March of the charge of dangerous asexuality, said he spoke Thursday morning. with the former detective as he was on his way to surrender to the FBI.

Mathews said the federal charges look similar to previous state charges Hankison has faced. As of Thursday, Hankison was the only officer facing charges in connection with the raid.

“I’m sure Brett will object to this just as he did the other indictment,” Mathews said.

Attorney Thomas Clay, who represents Jaynes, could not be immediately reached for comment. It was not immediately clear if Meany and Goodlett had an attorney.

Taylor’s murder, along with other famous 2020 killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, have sparked nationwide protests.

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Reporting by Scott Malone in Washington and Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Edited by Daniel Wallis and Marla Dickerson

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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